Taking Advice from a Stranger

I had a lovely synchronistic encounter at work today. A highly educated and very interesting 82-year-old man gave me some wonderful advice. Before he called,  I was feeling a little low-energy and blue. When I got his call I wasn’t expecting to be feel so suddenly alert. I can only describe it like this, my”conversation spider senses” started tingling. I immediately intuited that this guy was going to have some important information to share with me. It felt like a scene straight from The Celestine Prophecy.

He quickly displayed vast knowledge of nutrition and the commercial food industry. I had the feeling that he was born to be a teacher. His speaking style was so professorial, and his voice so buttery smooth, that I couldn’t help but hang from his every word. It didn’t hurt that he was almost Socratic in his methods of teaching. When I complimented him on his knowledge he made comments like, “this wasn’t handed down to me from the mountain tops, feel free to double check what I tell you” and, “we must all be ever cognizant and ever diligent.”

My favorite of his comments was made in reference to being fed up with doctors after he returned from the Korean War. He was frustrated by the lack of actual health care this country and said that one day he realized what he had to do. He said that day I “started praying like it was all up to God, and started studying like it was all up to me.” I really loved that comment and told him so. He then told me, “you know there are only two things that make you what you are: what you EAT and what you THINK.”

By the end of the conversation he had given me five books to read and also his contact information should I wish to reach out to him for anything in the future. Our conversation not only provided me with the excitement I had been craving, but had expanded my mind to some new ideas. New possibilities…

To conclude, I think it is totally f*ed up that we  tell children”never talk to strangers” but never stop to add, “every friend was once a stranger.” I have learned some amazing things from people I just met. The important thing is to listen to your intuitions, your instincts, about a new person.

Some people are only strangers because you haven’t met them yet.

This kid probably won’t get kidnapped. Just sayin…

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3 responses to “Taking Advice from a Stranger

  1. I love the comic here. I understand what you are saying about strangers. I guess you just don’t want your children to be naive. Although that seems to take away part of their childhood. I think in our tribe there will always be someone watching our children, so that they feel free to talk to strangers.

  2. Ultimately, I don’t want children who are making decisions out of fear. I want to teach them the difference between real fear and learned fear. I don’t see the harm in teaching them that some people cannot be trusted and will hurt them if they trust them, but I don’t want them to live with the impression that all or even most people are that way, because frankly I haven’t experienced that. I want to teach them from my experiences because they are the only things I know to be true. The more “truths” the encounter from different trust worthy people the better off I think they will be.

    This learning process doesn’t necessarily take away from childhood either. Kids are highly intuitive and also more creative than adults. Story telling is the key to teaching them about humanity. I watched Adam Sandler’s Bedtime Stories last night and it got me thinking that a great way to share what’s going on in your (adult) life is to tell stories to your children. In the film he turns himself into the hero character and the kids help him finish the stories in a way that helps him become a better version of himself (i.e. the Him he imagined he’d be as a child).

    More than anything this post is about the magic of meeting someone new who has an important message for you. Just this week I have met three people on the phone at work who called as customers but ended up talking to me as human beings. Even when I was a child I could sense that a person was “safe” to talk to. It was not explicitly taught and I’ll admit my eagerness to meet new people may have gotten me into a few awkward situations…but imagine if it had been consciously taught and modeled by adults around me? In effect, I hope to learn to use my intuitions to meet others who have important messages for me, and as I do so I hope to share what I learn with my children.

    I could talk about this all day but I’d love to hear more of your thoughts Mina. Anyone else have something to add? Please chime in!

  3. Oh Kace, I love your old man story. It was fun to read the whole story you briefly mentioned in an email a while back. How wonderful to meet someone on the phone like that, particularly someone who was calling about your product. I can completely see the state of paranoia some kids grow up in, learning from a parent or being told over and over again not to talk to strangers. I think it is really important to not doubt people and remember there is good in the world, even people who are only meant to be in your life for mere moments, but there can be so much gained if you just pay attention. Great line to remember: You are what you eat and what you think. Spot on.

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